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5 min read

How One Firm Transitioned RIA Custodial Service Providers to TradePMR in Under Six Weeks

Nov 22, 2022 12:24:46 PM

Get the case study and learn how Fairhaven Wealth Management moved over $700M in assets on their tight timeline.

In 2020 Chicago-based Fairhaven Wealth Management decided it was time to change RIA custodians.

They set an ambitious goal of transitioning over $700 million in client assets to a new custodial services provider in under six weeks.

This is Fairhaven’s story: how they evaluated prospective RIA custodians and completed their move to TradePMR without derailing their business.

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What Fairhaven needed.

Once the Fairhaven team decided it was time for a change, they set out to build a list of the key traits they’d need in their next provider.

The firm had its eyes set on strong growth. To meet their aggressive growth goals, they felt they needed a RIA custodian that would work hand-in-hand to support their team every step of the way. With growth comes complexity, and they knew that their team would need strong technology, service, and flexibility from their provider.

Fairhaven met as a team and developed a 30+ line-item list of wants and must-haves for their next RIA custodian. At the top of this list were advanced technology framework and sophisticated RIA trading capabilities that would allow for their team to customize and systemize their processes.

This list informed early conversations with prospective providers and helped the firm develop its RIA custodian RFP.

Evaluating RIA Custodians.

Fairhaven put together a list of prospective RIA custodial service providers that could be the right fit for their firm. Among the list were the usual suspects, as well as TradePMR.

While the Fairhaven team had known about some of the big-name custodians for years, they didn’t know much about TradePMR. They had heard some positive things from industry peers on the provider and felt it could be worth exploring.

Fairhaven founder and wealth advisor, Marc Horner, didn’t waste time. He picked up the phone and spoke directly with TradePMR CEO, Robb Baldwin – he could immediately tell that TradePMR took a different approach from the other providers the firm was considering.

After taking the time to do a deeper dive on TradePMR, Marc and his team found that the provider not only hit Fairhaven’s long list of criteria, but they brought intangible characteristics that they knew they would need in the long run: a direct and personal approach to service, a devoted transitions team, and flexibility to evolve their offering to meet changing advisor and client needs.

Fairhaven ultimately decided TradePMR was the best fit for their firm – from there, it was full steam ahead.

Prepping for transition.

Marc and his team took a surgical approach to their transition.

To hit their ideal timeline, they met with TradePMR’s transition team twice a week, on top of internal meetings. They leveraged an in-depth internal tracking system with clearly defined goals for individuals at the firm, all the way down to how individual dollars in accounts were moving.

This organization, the strong support from TradePMR, as well as advanced technology (like TradePMR’s account transfer tool) all helped Fairhaven tackle their transition on this tight timeline.

4 Key takeaways from Fairhaven.

Looking back at their RIA custodian transition, the Fairhaven team points to four key takeaways:

  1. Inclusion – leveraging and looping in the full team throughout the process was a must; this brought in more broad-based input and helped keep all stakeholders invested in the process and knowledgeable about how the transition would benefit their work.
  2. Data ownership – keeping detailed and comprehensive databases of client information was critical; advisors should never rely on their RIA custodians to be the sole holder of their data, as that can create major issues when looking to transition historical account data.
  3. Quick winsgetting over the hump in the beginning of the transition is incredibly important; the firm started by communicating the move to clients that they had the strongest relationships with, that momentum helped carry the firm through the transition.
  4. Relationships – clients work with RIAs because of the advisors, not their RIA custodians; Fairhaven trusted the strength of their client relationships and relied on that trust to help minimize anxiety surrounding the move.


Considering a Change in RIA Custodians?

If you’re thinking of adding or changing RIA custodial service providers, we should talk. We can dive into your business, and if TradePMR could be the right fit to help you achieve your next stage of growth.

Fairhaven had a tight transition timeline, and TradePMR worked to help them accomplish their goals. Ready to see what TradePMR could do for your firm?



Fairhaven Wealth Management and Trade-PMR, Inc are not affiliates. Securities offered through Trade-PMR, Inc. Neither Fairhaven, nor Marc Horner were paid for their endorsement of TradePMR.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2021 and subsequently updated.

Written by TradePMR